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How to backup a server while files are being used?

Discussion in 'Storage' started by OrbitzXT, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    At my office we have a server for Windows Server 2003 on it. It has all the company files on it, a majority of which are not being used at any given time since there is really only 3-6 people in the office usually.

    The server is running painfully slow and I was asked to give it a nice clean reinstall. The problem is I don't know how to go about backing up the files. All of the computers are networked, I tried using Windows' Backup program but that takes about 6-8 hours to do. What I wanted to do was get all of the files onto another computer and temporarily use that to host the files so everyone can access them as they need. And then reinstall the server PC, move the files back and that'd be the end of it.

    Is there a way I can accomplish this during office hours? Or at the very least limit the time I need without anyone accessing the files?
     
  2. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    You are going to have to stop access to the files or you will never know if something changed during the process.
    That's what weekends are for.
    Welcome to the IT world. :D
     
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  3. IggSter

    IggSter

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    This type of work is always done starting at 5pm and working through the night, or over a weekend.

    Might I suggest looking at VMware as a possible solution moving forward - you can then create an image of your server partition (not data) and that can be re-imaged/re-deployed within minutes.
     
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  4. v12dock

    v12dock

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    Setup a new 2003 server and replicate your AD on it.
     
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  5. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    You can mitigate the time you will need to spend doing it off hours by performing a full backup and then on the weekend doing an incremental (just what changed) so you do not have to spend the whole weekend there.
    Personally, I would just do the whole thing on one weekend and get it over with ... if possible.

    I am about to merge 4 servers into one. Yep ... another lost weekend. :laugh:
     
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  6. IggSter

    IggSter

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    Another low cost solution would be to purchase a NAS device and copy the data to that. The NAS would then be available to users while you rebuild the server.

    You could even leave the data on the NAS so the server contains the OS only.
     
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  7. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    If you go with a low cost NAS it's going to be painfully slow.
    Using a NAS for seldom used/archives is fine, but for mission critical live data I think your users will tar and feather you.

    Just my opinion. :)

    BTW ... how much data are we talking about here? Terabytes?
     
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  8. OrbitzXT

    OrbitzXT New Member

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    No it's a fairly small amount, about 150GB. Thank you everyone for the info.
     
  9. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    150GB takes 6 to 8 hours to back up ?!?! Something is not right.
    My old Dell server dumps ~100GB to a USB drive in about 2 hours.
     
  10. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    Robocopy the data to the new machine while everyone is using it, remember to set it to time out after 5 retries if a file is open, and only wait 5 seconds between retries.

    Then when everyone leaves, run the command again to grab just the files that have changed or that were in use previously, that should be relatively quick.

    Then set up the new machine as the temp server, and you have all the time in the world to redo the real server.

    Then once you are done reloading the main server, reverse the robocopy process to get all the data back onto the main server.

    Note: You can also use RichCopy if you prefer a GUI interface for Robocopy.:toast:

    There really is no way to do it while people are still accessing the files, because if they are still accessing the files, then the files are still changing, and if you back them up at a specific time while they are still be changed then any changes made will be lost.
     
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    Crunching for Team TPU More than 25k PPD
  11. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    Read all about VSS

    Use Cobian backup (free) that can work with VSS
     

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